It’s funny that ten years ago we were trying to explain the concepts of Customer Relationship Management and just trying to get buy in for putting these types of applications into many organizations. There were certainly skeptics and many unwilling players in countless Sales and Service organizations. There are still a number of hold outs but for the most part we now have fairly deep penetration of CRM applications as an every day business tool.
When it comes to adoption and thinking out of the box we are not quite there. I see too many organizations using these tools in a very manual way that actually drives adoption in the opposite direction and makes their day to day job functions more complex. It is apparent when you see this type of firm because many of the CRM functions are done in a “Lego” or building block type of implementation. Essentially, the company will take the step by step marketing > lead > opportunity flow and put just as many manual steps in their technology that they had in their pre-crm environments.
The reality is that many of today’s tools can be much more interactive with what many of us use to consider “dead” data. As an example we can utilize the e-marketing weapons in many of the CRM products today to not just communicate marketing messaging but also to query current customers and prospects with surveys and requests that can drive significant value to your firm.
Proactive firms today understand that leveraging information is the key to success. Happy customers or willing prospects will happily share information that relates to getting better service or solving their business problems. The customer landscape never stops changing and the ability to source feedback at a relatively low cost will enable your teams to reach their goals faster and enable you to be relevant and responsive.
I have been telling many executives for years that your CRM implementation is always in a phase and will never be completed. Until the day that you sell the business or shut the doors this will be true. If you deploy methods for automating data acquisition and feedback then you will also understand what you need to track and how to make your CRM database come alive. If you can do this adoption will be an afterthought and “feedback” will be the fuel to grow your business.